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FORT MITCHELL, Ky. - They were all witnesses - hopefully to Red Wolves' recruiting steal of the spring.
Tyler Fangman, a 6-3 guard from Beechwood High School (Ky.), signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Indiana University East starting with the 2011-12 school year.
Red Wolves coach Mark Hester announced the signing May 10 during a ceremony in Beechwood's packed senior cafeteria.
"I'm hoping he's the biggest steal of a recruit we've ever had," Hester said. "I don't know how we got him out of Kentucky."
Fangman was the Northern Kentucky Boys Basketball Coaches Association Division III Player of the Year as a senior.
He averaged 20.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game as Beechwood posted a 14-11 record.
He made 50 percent of his field goals, 46.9 percent of his 3-point field goals and 83 percent of his free throws.
"His name is Tyler if that tells you anything," said Hester, alluding to 2011 IU East graduate and NAIA All-American Tyler Rigby. "He is very similar. There is no doubt he has the ability to put the ball in the basket. As a high school player he has all of the shots. There are a lot of things to his game.
"The question is, will his mindset be the same as the other Tyler (Rigby). Will he be that tough and that hard of a worker."
Tyler is the son of Greg and Susan Fangman.
He plans to pursue a career in sports management.
"I set up a visit to IU East and I really liked the school and the players and the style of play and the coaches," Fangman said.
"I feel like I can be a team leader and distribute the ball and make everyone better."
More than 60 friends, family and well-wishers attended the signing ceremony.
"I've been a coach for 17 years and I've never had a player put in the time and effort between his junior and senior year to get better like Tyler did," said Beechwood coach Rick Shumate.
"He became one of the best offensive players I've ever had. I've never had a kid who could shoot better. You are getting one of the finest offensive players I've had the pleasure of being around."
The Red Wolves' recruits combined for a 54-21 record this past season.
IU East is an NAIA program. The Red Wolves are coming off of a 23-10 season. IU East won a share of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season championship and advanced to the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship for the first time.